Dave Gooderham’s Ipswich Town column: Please Mick, treat the FA Cup with respect
When Ipswich Town last won an FA Cup match, Bersant Celina was just 13, Birmingham and Blackburn were among the Premier League big boys and Joe McElderry topped the charts.
It has been eight long years since Owen Garvan gave Ipswich their last triumph – a 2-1 win over nine-man Blackpool. Since then, we have endured a heavy defeat at Chelsea, cup replay heartache and a televised embarrassment at brilliant Lincoln City.
So it somewhat ironic that a third round tie at home to Sheffield United this Saturday leaves Mick McCarthy at somewhat of a tipping point.
The FA Cup has personally given me so much joy, whether it be grainy footage of Osborne or Radford, glorious early finals celebrating with Houchen and Sanchez or marvelling at Wrexham, Gerrard and Lincoln (post-third round of course).
But McCarthy, yet to register a FA Cup win as Town boss, has always seen the greatest club cup competition in the world as a distraction – and he is not alone of course. But I would argue Town need a cup run more than ever.
Results in the last week, including the capitulation at Fulham, now mean the play-offs look like a hopeless dream.
Barring a miracle, or an utter disaster, Ipswich are heading to where Ipswich almost always end any season - mid-table mediocrity.
More and more vultures are circling around McCarthy - though I do hope most would also wave him off with a ‘thank you’.
So, Mick, I ask you. Please play our strongest team on Saturday. We are depleted. But play Bart. Play our ‘fab four’, our strongest defence and midfield. Give it our best shot, treat the great FA Cup with the respect it deserves.
For nothing else, long-suffering fans deserve something to shout about.